Return to action in the summer would give Preston North End duo a boost

If football is able to resume in the summer there could be a welcome return to action for two of Preston North End’s walking wounded before the season is out.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 6:00 am

Tom Bayliss and Billy Bodin have both had surgery in the last couple of months and in normal circumstances would have missed the rest of the campaign.

However, nothing falls into the ‘normal’ category at the moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Football is suspended until April 30 at the earliest and as things stand it might stay that way until the summer.

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Preston midfielder Tom Bayliss damaged ankle ligaments in January

If there is a May or June resumption that would give Bayliss and Bodin a chance of being involved.

Both players were injured in January, their last game being the 4-2 FA Cup defeat to Norwich City. Bodin, who turned 27 yesterday, hurt his Achilles tendon during a tackle in training between the Norwich and Blackburn matches.

He had scored against the Canaries with a close-range header, his third goal of the season.

The winger did get to the stage of his recovery of being out running on the grass but was still getting discomfort in the Achilles area.

So he underwent surgery to remove a spur of bone and is now rehabilitating from that.

Midfielder Bayliss has not been able to make an impact in the first team since last August’s big-money move from Coventry City.

The 20-year-old has made only four appearances to date, all of them in the two cup competitions.

Bayliss damaged ankle ligaments playing in a bounce game against Accrington Stanley at the training ground.

According to North End manager Alex Neil, he was getting closer to a regular inclusion in the first-team squad, Neil having seen him make more of an impression in training and learn what was needed at Championship level.

Should football get going again in the summer and the season finished in a reasonable time frame, it will be all hands on deck in terms of the squad.

It could still be that a late finish to this season comes too early for Louis Moult.

The striker ruptured an anterior cruicate ligament in the third league game of the season against Swansea City in August.

A week earlier, he had found the net in the 3-0 win over Wigan at Deepdale.

Moult had surgery in the autumn and his target had always been to return for the start of the 2020/21 season, with a full pre-season under his belt.

Cruciate ligament injuries always require plenty of time and patience to mend and cannot be rushed.